In the ancient days of the Church, early Christians had to make a potentially life-altering decision: Do I participate in the idolatry of Caesar in Rome by burning incense to him as though he were divine?
In its time, this was the true measure of political correctness and groupthink. To stay in the good graces of Roman culture, you acquiesced and you lived. If you didn't, you would be imprisoned and likely martyred, eventually.
I see this as an apt comparison to the contemporary travesty of "sexual orientation" ideology. It, too, is a form of idolatry that is even more insidiously subtle than merely sending up smoke to a false god. The ideology that claims there is not just one thing properly defined as "sexuality" but instead there is an ever-growing number of all-equally-good and normal "sexualities" is not just a "big lie" but is a monumental falsehood.
From this one diabolical font springs forth a torrent of evil, now fully embraced by a secular society spun out of control and possibly beyond human repair.
Perhaps even many Catholics haven't thought of the ideologies of orientation and gender in this way — we Catholics are more apt to grapple with gender ideology than we are orientation ideology, largely because there is nothing ambiguous about the error of gender ideology. But we would never have gotten to the point of a cultural acceptance that men can "really" be women, and vice versa, if we had not first folded under the false illusion that it's somehow normal for men to sexually desire other men and for women to sexually desire other women.
In past conversations with otherwise well-meaning Catholics, I've been challenged on my insistence that there is only "sexuality" — not "sexualities." The claim from Catholics who get this point wrong is that, because a group of people exists who do indeed have same-sex attraction, that group comprises its own distinctive "sexuality" — homosexuality; sounds reasonable, right?
Wrong, it is the "error in the beginning" from which a gazillion other errors arise. The whole point of the "taxonomy" of "LGBTQIA++" is that every letter in that acronym counts as something normal and therefore something to be affirmed and celebrated — and politically and socially protected.
For the secular believer in orientation ideology, the slipperiest slope emerges from that single act of accepting what could be called the "sexual relativism" at work in classifying people according to their sexual attractions and feelings. Effectively, belief in "sexualities" buries the truth that God has given human nature only one thing properly defined as "sexuality."
Instead of acknowledging the inherent logic, reason and morality of God's plan for human sexuality, so many people — including a too-large swath of self-identifying Catholics — are willing to just slide along and down the idolatrous slope that moves us deeper into madness and chaos.
Is there a simple antidote for digging out the root of the cultural rot that is sending so many closer to eternal pain and perdition? Can anything keep us from simply falling further into the lazy, non-confrontational, false "compassion" that claims that we must accept the big lie that all the following "sexualities" are both normal and real?
I'm not making up this list — each term is now part of the slimy alphabet soup we're swimming in: abrosexual, androgynosexual, androsexual, aromantic, asexual, biromantic, bisexual, ceterosexual, cisgender, demisexual, demiromantic, finsexual, gay, gynosexual, grey-romantic, heteroromantic, homoromantic, lesbian, omnisexual, pansexual, panromantic, pomosexual, polysexual, queer, questioning, straight, skoliosexual, sapiosexual and transgender.
That, friends, is a whole lot of black smoke being sent up to Caesar. Even the terms "straight" and "heterosexual" are part of the false ideology of "sexualities." I am decidedly not a "cisgender heterosexual" assigned as "male" at birth. All that is vain idolatry. So what am I? I am a man — simple as that.
Just as simple is the antidote for this evil, found in a single sentence in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The big truth is found in a small phrase, a phrase that every Catholic can and should commit to memory: "Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman" (CCC 2360).
Got that? Good, now memorize it. And then go live it.
To penetrate the deadly shroud of error surrounding us, all we have to do is stand fast with these basic truths:
Anything else that undermines these two principles is bound up in the swirling smoke sent up to the false god of "sexualities." We may have to live in its fog, but we don't have to breathe it in.
But be warned, if you memorize CCC 2360, if you embrace the simple truth and confront the big lie, you will likely suffer for it in the public square and even in your own parish, your own family and your own home.
The smoke of Caesar is intoxicating and, for many, soothing. It draws us away from harm, from conflict, from risk. It's an opiate that dulls us and leaves us willing to question reality itself. Like second-hand cigarette smoke, it doesn't take much to foul the air around us.
You'll see its effect in your friends and maybe your siblings or other close relatives. Those under its influence will insist that you are the problem, that you are the hater, the bigot. Threats may be made to your job, even your freedom. Our neighbors to the north in Canada know this all too well — so-called "hate-speech" laws in some countries are like the echoes of old Rome, a re-emerging thought police designed to silence you and strengthen the mythos of orientation and gender.
You face the same question faced by the earliest Christians, in fact — do you value your life more than God's truth?
If the answer is "yes," then enjoy the aroma of that dream-inducing incense while you can, safe in the cocoon of error created by an idolatry run amok.
If the answer is "no," it will cost you, some way, somehow. But in the end, your fidelity will rise like incense to the one, true, living God, and the sound of "well done, good and faithful servant" will fall upon your ears as you forever behold Him face to face.